Hockey Practice Tips: The Do’s & Don’ts

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5 hockey practice tips
M I K E M O R R I S

5 hockey practice tips that will help you quickly develop your skills

By Tim Turk, NHL skills coach

5 Hockey Practice Tips

If you were to select a handful of professional hockey players in the NHL today, they would have many skills in common: dedication, stamina, strength, fortitude, etc. However, one of the most interesting things they would have in common is that when they played hockey as kids, they always listened and focused during their hockey practice. Every NHL player had the proper sense to make the most out of their hockey practices, even when they were very young.

Believe it or not, making the most out of practice just requires having the right attitude and mindset. Listed below are 5 hockey practice tips on how to use your practice to your full advantage. This way, you can focus on developing your hockey skills as quickly as possible.

Tip #1: Listen to Your Coach

The most important thing that any hockey player can do during hockey practice is listening attentively to their coach. They have the coaching position because they know the game of hockey inside and out, and can offer hockey practice tips to best instruct you on how to become a better player.

Whenever your coach instructs you on something—whether they’re explaining a drill or giving a suggestion—make sure you’re quiet and attentive. Even when they’re talking to other players on your team, you should still be listening if you can. Often the things they are saying to that other player can still apply to you in many ways. So make sure you have your ears open, because you might catch something you can apply to your game to become better.

Tip #2: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

Your coach really knows their stuff when it comes to hockey. If you want to accelerate the development of your skills as a hockey player, you should ask as many questions as you can. Some examples of helpful questions are: What is this drill helping with? Is there anything I can be doing better? Also, always make sure to ask for help or clarification when you don’t understand something; that’s what your coach is there for!

Tip #3: Don’t Distract Others, or Let Others Distract You

Even if you’ve made the decision to listen intently to your coach, your teammates may still try to talk to you or distract you. Although keeping friendships is important, during practice the most important thing is to stay quiet and listen. Make sure to tell any teammate trying to distract you to stop, and remind them to pay attention. You’ll have plenty of time to talk and fool around off the ice!

By the same token, make sure you’re not distracting others. If others have made the decision to pay attention, try to respect that and develop the same attitude yourself. Your teammates will be grateful when everyone learns more as a result.

Tip #4: Come to Hockey Practice with the Right Attitude

Did you lose your last game and are still upset about it? That’s okay! Hockey players (or anyone, for that matter) can’t be happy all the time. But it’s important to try your best to leave any issues you might be having off the ice, and come to practice with a clear head and a positive attitude. This will really help you to focus on what your coach is saying and the drills you’re doing, so you can make the most out of your hockey practice.

Tip #5:  Always Give Your Best Effort

Professional players see every practice as a fantastic opportunity to improve their skills. The only way to ensure you’re making the most of your practices is to put in your best effort: Give it your all in every activity you do, from start to finish. This means not only trying your hardest physically in the drills, but also trying your hardest mentally, in terms of focusing on and internalizing what your coach is saying. This will put you well on your way to becoming the best hockey player you can be!

If you make it a habit to attend every practice and apply these hockey practice tips, you’ll have one more thing in common with every successful professional hockey player out there. As the saying goes, “A proper mindset is the first step toward success.”

These 5 hockey practice tips will help you make the most out of them. It’s one of the best things you can do to develop your skills as a hockey player.

Tim Turk has been an NHL-level skills and shooting coach for over 18 years. He has worked with the Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Carolina Hurricanes, as well as with many national programs overseas. He continues to work with NHL players while making time for minor league hockey teams and players. For more information visit his website, www.timturkhockey.com.

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